Cochise County officials say nearly 3,000 street releases have been done in Bisbee and Douglas since September. The Cochise County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) is focused on those trying to outrun law enforcement and causing pursuits in the county.

It’s been one month since the CCSO announced Operation Safe Streets II, which puts more law enforcement on Cochise County roads to catch smugglers. Law enforcement from across the county and state are part of the operation.

Sergeant Todd Lindendoll is the supervisor for the CCSO’s Criminal Interdiction team, which focuses on smuggling. Operation Safe Streets II is an expansion of what he and his team do. Lindendoll says the operation puts 30 police officers and deputies along the smuggling routes instead of just four CCSO deputies.

“What its allowed us to do is to cover more of the routs that smuggles are taking out of Cochise County,” he explained. “Because we have more officers out there we have an increase in apprehensions. Which is what we wanted.”

Cochise County isn’t seeing the influx of migrants waiting at the border, as some other border communities are. Both the Bisbee and Douglas mayor said haven’t had a surge of asylum seekers in their communities. County officials say the influx could come in December when Pima County will stop funding the transportation buses and shelters.

Lindendoll says they’re catching people who’re crossing the border illegally and are catching rides out of the county.

One of the drivers told us he was getting paid an additional $500 to come down and smuggle because this areas was what he put hot,” he explained. “So, Im assuming because it has a high law enforcement presence, they were getting an extra $500 to come down and smuggle.

The Sergeant says they are seeing as many smugglers coming through the area, but expects this to change after the new year.

We can have some weeks where we hardly get any loads and then other weeks we’re getting four or five loads a day,” Lindendoll said. “It just kind of depends on the cartel’s decision to move bodies or not.

The CCSO says Operation Safe Streets II is an ongoing project, and will continue as long as it’s needed.

We understand that theres a border crisis going on right now. Were out there; were doing the best we can, Lindendoll added.